Free Range: Design and Fashion


Written by Caisa Ederyd
Photos and illustrations by Roro Charnel; Jane Ellen Taylor
07 Monday 07th June 2010
During two summer months every year, the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane turns into a major portal for fresh art and design when Free Range takes over to present graduates from some of the UK’s leading universities of their kind.  Don’t Panic will be trawling the shows each week to bring you the pick of this year’s
The first week is mainly dedicated to Design and Fashion, including Goldsmiths BA Design graduates as well as creative students from Middlesex University. Although most fashion shows are for invites only, there is plenty of stuff to see if you would like to dedicate a bit of your spare time to some interesting design, art, fashion and photography in this tenth annual Free Range fair. This year’s Goldsmiths graduates present an exhibition dedicated to the concept of ‘curiosity,’ highlighting design in everyday life and what we do and how we consume affect our environment whether it is at home or out in public.
Alex Green has looked at South Korea and their obsession with robots in every day life. In Robot Realities the audience can talk to Alex’s grandmother via a computer, zoom in on objects with robot-like eyewear and walk around with robot shoes for the ultimate DIY-cyborg experience. Presenting situations where they are an essential part of our everyday lives, Alex questions whether robots will ever meet our expectations and playfully suggests they might slow down and complicate our lives.
Laime Lukosiunaite’s Situated Drawing series incorporates drawing into her everyday life and situations that you wouldn’t normally associate with it, such as “taking a shower, sleeping, eating, walking”. One very cool design is an Edward Scissorhands’ glove with crayons on the fingertips instead of scissors.
Although many of this year’s designers have taken creative or technological objects and put them in everyday situations, a lot of work focuses on lifestyle, health, food and environment from a national and global perspective rather than a domestic perspective.
One example of these is Alex Kassian’s The Mighty Bee Project where he aims to “design a better habitat for honeybees.” Alongside his beehive designs, Alex made The Might Book of Bees which outlines the essential role honeybees have in our world and the effects of a world without bees.
Although the official Free Range photography weeks are yet to come (in week two and three), Middlesex University presents their BA photography graduates during this first week alongside their BA fine arts, illustration and fashion design, styling and promotion graduates.
Whilst Goldsmiths’ Free Range contributions were presented in futuristic and socially aware frames, Middlesex University presented a classic graduate exhibition where their photography graduates focused largely on personal portraits.
Konstantin Suslo documented WW2 veterans in their personal environment, such as their homes, or dressed in uniforms with war awards such as medals and pins. Their uniforms stand in contrast to the environment and the persona of Konstantin’s subjects.
Among the paintings, Zoe Sua Kay’s self-portrait is outstanding, personal and very pretty. Although it’s pretty simple, framing Zoe herself looking into a mirror, the realism, shape and beauty of the painting is truly eye-catching and amazing.
Free Range will be on throughout the summer, so if you have a moment to spend on other things than to hang around in the park, run down to The Old Truman Brewery and explore what might be tomorrow’s essential stuff within art, design and fashion.

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